Wednesday, April 26, 2006


In the U.S., it is not a lack of divisions which keeps us “united”, it is a multitude of them. But we see many of them as part of our diversity and individuality. We are not trying to be the same all the time. We do not generally feel threatened by differences in the way some other cultures do (there are, of course, many exceptions to this, but hey – we need SOME challenges to work on, right?).

We have such a variety of experiences and people in our lives that we are much more comfortable living among differences, and we have learned to see past them when it comes to what’s most important.

So we in the U.S. have so much diversity that we are more tolerant, in general, of differences than many of the more troubled areas of the globe.

Large countries often allow for more diversity (at least non-communist ones!) than smaller countries because they are more complex and stable, less vulnerable to the silly whims of individual human beings (our current administration not withstanding).

Which brings us to organizations. Now, a family is an organization. So is a government. And a country.

As an organization reflects the individuals that comprise it, a diverse group of people working for a common cause will often be more stable, more flexible, than one composed of very similar people. That diversity of experience, perspectives, and preferences gives the organization a much more valuable set of resources to draw from. If it can harness the creativity and enthusiasm to a common cause and focus, the potential is tremendous.

And here’s another thing: a diverse, complex and stable organization can interact more efficiently and effectively with other individuals and organizations. So the diversity that goes into the organization makes that organization more suitable to interaction with others.

A case in point: The Gaza Strip.

Many of the violent, militant political organizations there tend to be made up of people trying to think and act the same way. They are formed as a reaction to a perceived enemy. They consist of people who’s common cause is that they are against someone or something (this is true of many “resistance” organizations all over the world, of course).

The glue that holds many of these groups together is infused with hatred. That hatred can dissipate if the organization moves in other directions and develops more constructive goals. But such flexibility often requires diversity of thought, something many of these organizations lack.

This is as much a reflection of the troubled and divisive societies in which they are formed as it is anything else.

If these groups, and the societies in which they are formed, could develop an appreciation for diversity of thought and perception, they could become far more flexible, far more dynamic. And they could interact more efficiently and effectively with other organizations, both within their society and around the world.

Diversity is therefore a necessary ingredient, and one that is unfortunately scorned and avoided in many of the places around the world in which it is needed most.

Two-Party System

The primary weakness of the two-party system:

When government grows ineffective or self-absorbed or out of touch, the parties are able to direct some of the public’s disapproval toward the other party.

Most people who are interested in politics tend to associate themselves with one party or the other (at least most of the time), so their dissatisfaction with government in general tends to get deflected to the ‘other’ party.

There, it finds its outlet.

Friday, April 14, 2006

What Is Best?

Put the needs of your ego aside for a moment and ask yourself, “What is best for ALL involved?”

How well you know yourself and the people in your life will determine how close you come to answering that question correctly. And while there are many correct answers, there are even more incorrect ones.

So, what is best for YOU? Chances are, what’s best for you is not that different from what’s best for others. So becoming aware of what’s best for you will serve to inform you of the needs of others as well.

I believe one of the many reasons for our being here is to immerse ourselves in an environment in which we are surrounded by the presence and the absence of love. As we explore ourselves and our abilities in this environment, we taste many flavors of love and feel many pains in fearing its absence.

Eventually, we each learn about the many colors and flavors of love by feeling the absence of each, and then experiencing its return. And as we remember once again each of the infinite forms that love can take and ways that it can flow, we grow fuller and more complete. We are able to express and incorporate more of who we are and to present a more balanced and complete picture of ourselves.

In a way, we break ourselves apart into numerous aspects of ourselves, which are really just different versions of ourselves, with different attributes emphasized or suppressed. These focuses of ourselves are intense explorations of those aspects, and the life you’re living right now is one of those explorations.

It does not matter that a certain version of ourselves fails to accomplish anything of a material nature. The lasting value of each experience lies in the feelings, the emotions felt during and since that experience. Therefore, it does not matter if one is building a skyscraper with steel beams or a little tower with children’s blocks. The feelings are similar, and the intensity of those feelings as well.

What matters most to an individual is indicative of the spiritual complexity of that individual. And, to some extent, of their intellectual complexity as well. Though not always.

Spiritual complexity eventually leads to intellectual simplicity.

Words to ponder.


Monday, April 10, 2006



"Strive to be as patient with others as the universe is being with you."



When people experience discontent in their lives, they can do one of two things: Look without, or look within.

To look without is to look at the symptoms of your discontent, rather than the cause.

So what is it that appears to be causing one’s discontent?

-Don’t like one’s job, or people at work
-Feels like finances are inadequate, scarcity
-Being held back, repressed, oppressed in some way(s)
-Being discriminated against
-Feeling unmotivated, unenthusiastic
-Simply don’t know what to do!

So, where do you place the blame? Whose fault is it that you are experiencing these things?

If life is an illusion, then that illusion is a trance. A trance in which we become spellbound by our outer circumstances and thus overlook the obvious: we create those circumstances, somehow.

There is no other plausible way to explain why each of our lives are SO different from one another. The realities we experience and the perspectives we have of ourselves and others are unique to each of us. But how can that be? The answer that seems to make the most sense, to me at least, is:

We are each causing our circumstances to occur.

That is why those circumstances are so consistent within one person’s life but far different from those of another.

In other words, the circumstances in which we find ourselves have been brought about somehow by our choices and our perspective. We have arrived at the present moment by choosing, as choices were presented, those that led us to NOW, to THIS place and THIS situation.

Therefore, it seems obvious to me that if we are experiencing discontent, it would be a waste of time to blame other people or outside factors for our current situation. The perspective that we have, and the choices we have made, occur on the inside, not the outside.

And thus, as all the wise ones have repeatedly told us: look within.

Look within.

Look within.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Evolving Leadership

Government is best approached as a reflection of the people, and not the other way around.

When authority figures accurately represent the current beliefs of the people, there is harmony and respect between them as well as a free flow of ideas upward. When authority figures instead represent the views of a particular party or religion or sect or demographic or ethnicity, there ultimately ensues a clash of beliefs between those of the “rulers” and those of the “ruled” (or not so ruled!).

The relationship in the latter case has become inefficient: the free flow of ideas has slowed to a trickle. And much of the attention is directed toward defending one’s own ideas and attacking those of the opposing side. This continues until all progress grinds to a halt, as the leaders have prioritized partisanship over progress.

Meanwhile, the populace continues to change as it always does, only it changes less smoothly. Progress comes in fits and starts, unguided by any remnant of visionary leadership. As a society turns its attention in on itself, it tends to exaggerate its own weaknesses and limitations (as does the individual). It begins to highlight its own negative and limiting beliefs.

If this period of inward examination is short-lived and uneventful (i.e. no wars or major upheavals occur), a society can work out its inefficiencies and eventually embark upon a new stage of growth and progress. This has happened a number of times in the history of the U.S. and many other countries. The people find a way to eliminate the inconsistencies between their leaders and themselves. This typically involves electing new leadership (in the case of a democracy) or removing the old system of authority and installing a new, more efficient system of government.

Over time, the new leaders or system of government introduce new ideas and institutions that address previous inefficiencies. Some of these new ideas and institutions work well and take their place alongside previously successful ideas and institutions that were kept.

Thus an evolution occurs in which new beliefs are blended with old ones to produce a new society, which in turn inevitably generates new and unforeseen inefficiencies. How that new society deals with these new inefficiencies (along with the old ones) will determine how long the new leadership can keep its attention on the future.

If too much energy is devoted to internal issues and disagreements, growth will once again grind to a halt and the leaders will once again grow out of touch with their citizens – and the outside world.

This is a cycle that has existed throughout much of our history. And the pertinent question today is:

Where are we in this cycle?

Has our current leadership grown out of touch with the beliefs and priorities of the populace?

And if so, what methods will we use to eliminate the inconsistencies between our leaders and ourselves?


The current argument in America regarding immigration comes down to one issue, in my opinion:

Your definition of “we”.

How do you define “we”? Obviously, each individual defines that particular word in his or her own way. But it seems to me that the way you define “we” is the primary factor in determining (or dictating) where you stand on this issue.

If you define “we” as meaning Americans, then obviously someone who considers himself a Mexican or a Japanese would not fall within your “we”.

If you define “we” as human beings, however, then nationality becomes a less important distinction.

One may argue that the primary concern is for the stability of the American society and/or economy. Such an argument requires the distinction between Americans and non-Americans. In fact, it depends upon it. It requires that one extend one’s definition of “we” to the border of our country and no further. Everyone beyond is a non-American and must be dealt with accordingly.

The more emphasis that is placed upon the distinction between American and non-American, the more defined the word “we” becomes. It grows increasingly difficult to view the human race in terms of “we” when distinctions of nationality are so prevalent and emotionally emphasized.

What is this insistence on the part of so many Americans to look upon non-Americans as “them”?

I imagine it is partially a relic of a previous era when nationality was necessary to defend and maintain borders in the face of combative monarchs and dictators. But is such an emphasis on national differences still necessary? Is it possible that the vestiges of disharmony between the leaders of modern countries are what necessitate such well defined and vigorously controlled boundaries?

We as individuals have made great strides in learning to see each other as brethren, regardless of which part of the planet we’re from. But I don’t think we have seen as much progress on the part of our leaders and entrenched political parties in Washington or in other countries. Our leaders still have a hard time getting along with each other. They play a high stakes game of tit-for-tat, smiling and shaking hands for the cameras from time to time.

We are told by our leaders that our borders are important and must be regulated. We are told that we have enemies that must be kept out. We are told that the people who come into our country are responsible for this or that. The people they are referring to have the primary distinction of being non-Americans. That is how they are being defined.

If we didn’t hear our leaders regularly touting the superiority of America and the immorality or inferiority of America’s enemies, perhaps we wouldn’t dwell so much on the distinction between Americans and non-Americans. This distinction is at the heart of the immigration issue.

Some Americans are grateful for the opportunities afforded them by this country, and they love the idea of sharing America with anyone and everyone who wants to partake. Such is the pure essence of freedom and brotherhood.

Others feel that the opportunities available in America are limited and therefore must be protected. They feel that opportunity is a scarce commodity that would be depleted if anyone and everyone could come and partake of it. And so those who hold this view vigorously defend a well controlled border and limitations on immigration.

One can see that the former – those who want to share America – have a different perception of “we” : in their case, “we” is ultimately defined as human beings. In the case of the latter, “we” most definitely means Americans only.

Perhaps some Americans fear that if everyone who wanted to could come to America and become an American, the definition of “American” would be watered down, diluted in some way.

Perhaps some Americans consider themselves to be better than residents of certain other countries and want to bar as many outsiders as possible. If that is the case, then the definition of “we” is of utmost importance to them. For they have the most to lose.

I am not endorsing any position on this issue. No one has asked me to, nor do I feel an urgent need to do so.

I am, however, paying increasing attention to what exactly it means to be an American, as well as what our leaders have to say regarding who deserves to be one.

Perhaps that is what the battle over immigration is really about.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006



A moth within my home
Trapped for days
Cannot find the open door.

Do I chase him today
While he is still filled with vigor
Or do I wait until tomorrow
When he is tired and losing hope?

Am I this moth?
I was filled with vigor
Trying to find my way out of this cage
On my own
Flapping my wings
And beating my head against the window
For I can see what's on the other side.

Who is the master of this house?
Who is waiting for me to tire
Before plucking me from the window sill
And carrying me to the door
So that I may once again fly free?


Ashes Of Disaster


"Up from the ashes of disaster
Grow the roses of success."

-from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Some Days


Some days I am like the grandfather,
Proud and strong-willed
And sometimes foolish.

Other days I am like the camel,
Content to roam without direction
Or to be steered by a smart and persistent hand.

Some days I am like the rabbit,
Cautious and vigilant
And ready to run.

Other days I am like the sun,
Generous with my light
And brighter than ever before.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006


There is nothing wrong with aggression. In fact, it is quite necessary for our existence. The outward thrust of creativity and desire is what creates and sustains this world. It is only when aggressive behavior is expressed without compassion that imbalance occurs.

In many of the more economically developed areas of our globe, there are a variety of socially acceptable and socially endorsed activities that provide outlets for aggression. The sports and business arenas are the most prevalent and successful examples of fields in which individuals – young and old – can compete with one another physically, intellectually, and emotionally. In fact, many occupations of otherwise non-aggressive people provide the occasional opportunity for aggression without an escalation to outright conflict.

So stable, economically developed societies give citizens ample opportunity to display and express aggression which is directed toward constructive (or at least non-destructive) activities: athletics, scholastics, outdoor adventure, hobbies, politics, business, and even kids playing in the neighborhood. There is an atmosphere, at least in peaceful regions of the world, in which there are more than enough outlets for creative, aggressive behavior.

This is not the case in all parts of the world, nor is it true throughout all parts of the most stable regions. There are countless communities in which there are few, if any, such outlets. Little or no organization of sports or clubs or scholastic activities exists, and the business climate in these areas is often dominated by powerful manipulators who lack respect for law and compassion for human life. Such an atmosphere pervades throughout many parts of the world. Much energy is expended toward competitive survival, and there is little room for compassion.

You may feel great compassion for family members, loved ones; but there is little room for it when you need to have something to show for your aggressive behavior – money or food for the table, clothes for the children. In these cases, individuals (particularly young people) must direct their quite natural aggressive energy toward activities related to their survival, rather than sports or hobbies or other creative and/or competitive pursuits.

One can find examples throughout history of civilizations or societies which, at least for a time, developed social structures and organizations which provided outlets for this creative or aggressive or competitive energy. The Greeks evolved a social environment in which young people (the free ones, at least) were encouraged to pursue a number of endeavors including athletic competition, artistic expression, and rhetoric. The atmosphere was one in which an individual could grow up focusing his attention and efforts upon developing athletic or artistic or intellectual or political skills and abilities. This atmosphere later blossomed into an age of heightened expression, and we’ve been enamored with their achievements ever since.

At the heart of the Greek explosion was a climate of beliefs about the individual – his potential, his opportunities. This was expressed collectively in the form of new social structures which strove to accommodate the importance and contribution of the individual. Such social structures are, of course, in place in some areas of the world today.

Societies which lack such social structures are often plagued by the challenges inherent in an atmosphere lacking constructive outlets for aggression. In general, it is helpful to remember that aggression will always exist. It is part of who and what we are. It is necessary.

And history has shown us that societies which are able to harness such aggressive tendencies and direct them toward constructive and rewarding endeavors experience the joy of watching, as the Greeks did, their society blossom with the fruits of appreciated and celebrated aggression.

We are now in a position to do this on a scale never seen before, and I am personally looking forward to observing and participating in it. Our ongoing challenge is to recognize aggression as an important part of who we are, and to aggressively seek creative and satisfying and rewarding outlets for it.

And for those areas of the world that lack such outlets, perhaps it is time to divert more of our attention and energy to the establishment of the structures and organizations that will provide such outlets. Perhaps it is time to make such endeavors a priority, rather than an afterthought.

Perhaps the key to a stable and peaceful and exciting society lies not in the availability of jobs or resources but in the availability of constructive and rewarding outlets for our natural aggression and creativity. Perhaps THAT is the engine than powers a dynamic and stable society.

The Greeks seemed to have figured that out, at least for a time.

Will we?

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Monday, April 03, 2006

The Church and America

There are parallels between the history of the Roman Catholic Church and that of America, or specifically the U.S. Government.

Christianity began with a set of values presented and explained by Jesus Christ. These values were subsequently molded into a set of beliefs by Paul, who was the primary instrument in establishing the Christian church. As the Church became more organized and stable, it developed a layer of leadership and administration. The letters that Paul wrote to various groups of Christians became, along with the gospels, sources of authority within the church. And, as in any organization, there were leaders – i.e. those with a natural disposition toward shouldering responsibility, making decisions, and following them through.

Over time, these source documents (Paul's letters, in particular) were used as the foundation for a set of rules concerning how to behave, what to believe, etc. And naturally, those that were in positions of authority came to believe that the enforcement of these rules was essential to the existence of the Church.

The values that Christ delivered, then, became a set of rules that one was expected to follow, and not question, in order to be called a Christian and to ensure that one was behaving in the good graces of God.

As the organization grew and acquired momentum and respect, admittance to the organization (i.e. the right to call oneself a Christian) became less an issue of what one actually believed and more an issue of proving through statements and actions that one was accepting the rules and regulations necessary to gain admittance to the church. The rules of the organization itself came to supercede the values upon which the Church had been built.

Now, America.

America was founded upon a set of principles, values. Those values were what separated the rebellious colonists from British loyalists, just as the values conveyed by Christ were what separated Christians from non-Christians. And just as was the case with Paul and Christianity, the founding fathers of America were responsible for molding the values which had brought about revolution into a Constitution. The constitution was and is a set of values and is reflective of the atmosphere in which those values were decided upon and fought for.

Just as the early Christians were called by their values to stand up and defend them in the face of Roman tyranny, so too the colonists of early America took to arms to defend their values against the yoke of British tyranny. In both cases, there were new ideals in the air, new respect for the rights of the individual and a belief in a higher cause, one that was worth fighting for. And in both cases, the values that were being defended were subsequently molded into a set of beliefs that reflected those values. The Christian church was organized around the values espoused by Christ, and America was organized around the values held by the rebellious colonists.

Now, what happened to these two organizations over time? Let us first consider the Church.

When Constantine converted to Christianity, the table was set for the organizing techniques of the Roman Empire to be applied to the Church. By that time, the Church was a stable entity with resources and the ability to influence large numbers of people. It was an organization to which its members were quite loyal, and as such it was a valuable political entity. The Church had become a powerful organization, and therefore the leaders of the Church were instrumental in the wielding of that power – specifically in the decisions that were made.

As the Church became infused with the organizing and exploiting tendencies of Roman government, it became far more efficient at collecting resources and placing power in the hands of its leaders. The fact that its leaders were also entrenched within the government of the Roman Empire made it inevitable that the bureaucracy operating in the government would be replicated in the Church. And so it was.

The Church had grown far beyond simply a collection of people who shared common values. It had grown into a large and complex organization with priorities that revolved around acquiring and wielding power. The actual values upon which the Church had been built were difficult if not impossible to discern beneath the layers of politics and wealth.

America, too, went through the process of building an organization upon a set of values. The values had been tested and implemented through the revolution and were organized into a constitution. This constitution was then used as the foundation for a government that was established for the people, by the people.

The government of early America was, of course, an organization. And as with any organization, there were those within it who were naturally disposed to leadership roles. And, as with any organization, the decision making that was required by those in leadership roles grew in importance and took on the attribute of power.

The organization of America, similar to the organization of the Christian Church, eventually grew from a collection of people sharing common values to an organization that collected and wielded resources. The Church leadership and the U.S. government each developed into a bureaucracy that made decisions which affected the rest of the organization – that is, common Christians and common Americans. And as these bureaucracies grew, they became less focused on their founding values and more focused on preserving the organization itself.

Now, let’s take a step back for a moment and look at what actually took place in both instances. In both cases, an organization was formed of individuals that shared common values. The individuals and the values existed BEFORE the organization. The organization was the RESULT of individuals pooling their energy and their resources in order to express their values. And yet, in both cases, the organization became an entity in and of itself with values of its own.

The first priority of any established organization is to preserve itself. Otherwise, it will cease to exist, and it’s members will lose whatever benefits that organization was providing for them (wealth, power, identity, etc.). So the American leadership and the Church leadership became the decision makers whose first priority was the preservation of the organization, rather than the expression of the values which had brought that organization into existence.

Just as an individual has a set of values, so too an organization has a set of values.

An efficient organization is one which constantly and consistently reflects the values of its members.

What happened in the case of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the U.S. government, was that the organizations themselves grew to be the source of their own values. And these values were then adopted by the rest of the members of the organization – Christians and Americans looked to their organizations for their values. The Church and the American government began to dictate rather than reflect the values of the individuals. The tables were gradually turned, and the people themselves began to reflect the values held and expressed by the organizations, rather than the other way around.

The Roman Catholic Church, as well as America, grew to become far more important than the individuals themselves.

The Roman Catholic Church was eventually challenged and exposed. The people finally saw clearly the corruption, the manipulation, and the deception. The Church was exposed for what it had become: a business, a political machine.

And now, America. Has America run the same course? Or a similar one? Has America grown from a collection of people who share common values to a business, a political machine?

And if so, what will it’s reformation be like?


As a country, and slowly as a species, we are focusing more and more on the possible bad things that might happen. And we sometimes wonder when, not if, they will.

The obvious example is, of course, terrorism.

We have accepted it as an evil enemy of freedom. We have created complex organizations and operations to fight against it.

We have admitted that terrorism is a dangerous threat to the United States and much of the globe. Our leaders often stress how serious that threat is and how important it is to take steps to prevent acts of terrorism from happening and all of the many ways in which we must protect ourselves.

We, the citizens of the United States, consider it quite reasonable to spend a significant portion of our financial resources on the fight against terrorism. We have admitted that there are people out there who aim to do damage to this and other countries, particularly those in the west.

There is a tangible fear expressed by many U.S. leaders and authorities that there are people in this world that wish to do us harm.

And we, the good and trusting citizens of the United States, willingly agree that this is so. We have managed to accept the possibility that an individual whom we have never met and who lives very far away from us wishes to do us harm. And not just one, but many.

Just because I am an American, or because I live in a modern or western country. Somehow, I am hated for that. Or so I am frequently told by our leaders and politicians and everyone else who claims to know what’s best for me and my fellow citizens.

Now, am I being gullible here? Let’s consider.

First of all, is it possible to hate someone you have never met? I really don’t think so. It doesn’t seem possible to have any feelings whatsoever about someone you have never met. The closest thing you can do, then, may be to hate what you believe they stand for, or what qualities or history or beliefs they may hold.

As far as I know, the only people who can possible hate me as a person are those who know me or somehow know of me. And for a ridiculously large portion of the globe, that is simply not possible. There can be no more than several thousand people in this world who know me or have met me and formed some sort of opinion of me. And almost all of them live within 300 miles of where I currently reside.

So, using simple and sound logic, I can only conclude that there is VERY little possibility that someone living in the Middle East or Asia or anywhere else that is more than a day’s drive from my home could hate me. I really do think and feel that they would have to be aware of me first. Somehow.

So if the terrorists are not aware of me personally, then can they really want to do me harm? The answer appears to be no.

They must have a problem with whatever it is they feel that I, as an American or a Westerner, stand for.
So what DO I stand for? And even more pertinent to our current discussion, what does the terrorist who would kill me if he were given the chance THINK that I stand for?

Isn’t that what we really need to understand?

None of them know me. NONE of them. So it’s not me they’re after. I don’t actually have these enemies that I am told of so frequently on the television and in the newspaper.

There is a war being waged, but it’s not them against me or my fellow citizens.

It is a war of beliefs: those of terrorists against those of their perceived enemies. Not the people themselves, but their beliefs. For, the individuals in most cases do not know one another. They only know one another’s beliefs.

Or so they think.

I'm discussing terrorism because it is a frequently discussed fear, and one that is given importance in the media and in the policies and actions of our leadership. And I have stated that I don’t believe there are indivduals in this world who mean to harm me specifically. They would have to know me in order to want to harm me specifically. The most that a typical terrorist can do is harm certain people for what they think they stand for.

I don't actually believe that there are terrorists out there that want to harm or kill me. They don't hate me. They hate what they think people in my area of the world believe.

And there's nothing I can or need to do about that.

Unless I accept them as my enemy.

Which I don’t.

I don’t even know them.

Turning Inward

March 30th, 2006

It is only when we have given up trying to find happiness in our external lives that we begin to turn inward in earnest. Until then, there are only glances in that direction.

Our outside experience holds many avenues for pleasure and joy, satisfaction and pride. These things are actively pursued by the ego, and are indeed found and experienced. This is how the exploration of ego consciousness proceeds. The physically-focused attention looks outside of the self for sources of pleasure and happiness, as well as pain and unhappiness, anger, fear and envy.

So the exploration is one of focusing our attention on the world outside of ourselves. We observe it from afar, in other words, not realizing that we are viewing ourselves. We have simply placed it “out there” so that we can experience and explore and evaluate ourselves from a different perspective, in a different way. We experience ourselves symbolically, through our observance of - and interaction with - our environment and each other.

This game, if I may call it that, eventually wears thin. Like an aging child who grows bored with the trains he used to play with, or the dolls she used to dress, we eventually lose our fascination with the outside world: the work, the responsibilities, the conflicts, the dramas, the relationships, the tragedies, the risks, and eventually even the rewards.

At some point, the payoff for all of that effort begins to decline. One works harder and harder to find happiness, and finds it less and less. They have worn out, in a sense, what the physical world has to offer. Like the little girl who sneaks into the candy store and eats all the candy she wants, and on the way home someone offers her a piece of candy. And she finds that she does not want it. She no longer desires candy. Even though there was a time, not long before, when candy was all she thought about. Now she has had her fill. She has had quite enough.

So that time arrives when one realizes that the rewards of the outside world – money, security, admiration, pride, winning, accomplishing – no longer hold the allure that they once did. They offer nothing new, nothing fulfilling. There must be something else, another source of happiness that doesn’t come from the outside. Why do most of history’s well-known spiritual leaders and messengers and prophets live a simple, uncomplicated life? Why are they humble, and often without possessions? What do they know that the rest of us don’t?

It would appear that the common thread is the realization that lasting happiness springs from an internal source, not an external one. So while the populace is chasing its collective tail, working hard and paying bills and struggling to survive and acquire and accumulate, the option is always there to cease relying on the outside world as a source for anything whatsoever.

This turning inward is the definitive milestone on the spiritual path. It is as if we are ducks on a pond, and eventually each of us will stop plunging our head underwater in search of precious morsels of food and choose instead to flap our wings and learn to fly. Each of us will, at the appropriate time, realize that those precious morsels of food have ceased to provide us with what we truly seek. They were a distraction all along, though a purposeful one. But what have we learned?

What have we learned, holding our attention so firmly on the circumstances and events and people and objects in our lives? And is this learning related to our turning inward? Do we begin to look inside as a result of what we have learned by looking outside? It would appear so.

In this case, the difference between one who has found internal and stable peace and one who has not lies in whether one has had enough of what the outside world has to offer. As long as you view that there are things you can do and/or have that will make you happy, then you will focus your attention and your intent upon doing or acquiring those things. You are the duck who stays on the pond because that is where the morsels are. The morsels are still enticing, and so you float upon the water and you peer below, waiting for another precious find.

The happiness that one finds in the outside world can dissipate quickly and can sometimes be hard to find, and so it is cherished and pursued and bemoaned when it is lost. The duck can grow quite hungry as it floats on the pond, peering intently into the water. Where is that elusive morsel, that kernel of happiness that I have tasted before and love so much? I want to experience joy. Why am I not?!

Ah, the game of life. It is mesmerizing and addicting. We have all resided within the throes of that addiction for a very long time. Are we ready to look elsewhere for that elusive joy and peace that we have tasted from time to time but not nearly as often as we'd like?

Are you wondering whether your life will ever be the pleasurable, conflict-free existence you wish it could be?

Have you finished chasing your tail?

No hurry.

Take your time.

We’ve got eternity, you know!